Monday, July 24, 2017

Profiting From Problems

Chuckle: “A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold.” --Ogden Nash
Good Quote: If you're not having problems, you're missing opportunities for growth.” --Unknown source 

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials (problems) of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature" (James 1:2-4 NIV).
No one enjoys going to the dentist, but we all enjoy the long-term benefits of having our teeth made more attractive and healthy. Likewise, none of us enjoys the pain and anguish associated with severe trials or problems that come into our lives. But all who endure them with patience and understanding enjoy the ultimate outcomes of perseverance, proven character, and hope. James begins his writing by identifying life's greatest teachers: problems, trials, adversities, or difficulties. There are two key words in the above passage that we need to fully understand:
1. "Consider," means to think ahead. James is telling us to spend some time planning for what we will do when trials come. A wise person makes preparations for dealing with difficulties in life, and that preparation is done God's way. When a wise person pitches a tent, he thinks ahead to the possible storm -- chooses high ground, drives the stakes deep, trenches around his tent, etc.
2. "Know," means to have certain information, facts, or truths from God's Word as you think ahead that will help you deal with what's coming. It means searching for truth according to God that will stand the test of time and serve us well as we deal with trials and troubles. Here are three truths about problems:
a. Problems are certain. "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you" (I Peter 4:12 NIV).
b. Problems have purposes. ". . . . because you know that the testing of your faith develops (produces) perseverance (endurance)" (James 1:3 NIV)
c. We must learn to cope with problems. "Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials (problems) of many kinds" (James 1:2 NIV).
Jesus himself had some very important things to say about problems. "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33 NIV). He never promised to remove all problems from the Christian's life, but he does promise to be with us and give us the strength and wisdom to endure and grow us through them. My prayer for each of you is that you will experience this peace that our Lord promised, even during the most difficult of times.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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